Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Charles C. Warfield

Second Advisor

Dr. David Cowden

Third Advisor

Dr. Lowell Walsworth


This study investigated and compared the perceptions of male and female elementary school principal's instructional leadership behavior. Perceptions were solicited from elementary school principals who held membership in the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association. The objective of the study was to compare male and female elementary school principal's perceptions of their instructional leadership behavior. The dimensions of instructional leadership compared were: Defining the Mission, Managing the Instructional Program, and Promoting School Climate.

The Principal Instructional Management Rating Scale (Hallinger & Murphy, 1985) sought perceptions on the major dimensions of instructional leadership behavior. The survey was mailed to the elementary school principals. Of the 270 surveys distributed, 79% were returned. Resulting data were analyzed by gender and (a) the years of experience as a principal, (b) years of experience as a teacher, (c) school enrollment, and (d) the highest degree held.

The results of the survey showed that both male and female elementary school principals perceived they performed the following roles of instructional leadership most often: ( a ) promoting professional development, (b) monitoring student progress, (c) maintaining high visibility, (d) providing incentives for learning, and (e) supervising and evaluating instruction.

In addition , the following roles were perceived as performed most often by females: (a) framing the school goals, (b) providing incentives for teachers, and (c) communicating the school goals.

When testing for gender differences, it was found that female elementary school principals perceived themselves performing more than males perceived themselves performing in most all of the roles of instructional leadership behavior. Specifically , female elementary school principals performed significantly different than males in the areas of framing the school goals, communicating the school goals, providing incentives for teachers, and promoting professional development. Few significant differences were shown among the groups when examining differences regarding the independent variables of the study.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access